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Mercury Bay Multi-sport Park 

The second item that appeared as a 'public excluded' late item last Wednesday related to the above.

I requested the release of the paper and the decision relating to this matter, and received the following advice from the Chief Executive:

Mercury Bay Multi Sport Park--this report and the resolutions are withheld.  The grounds are section 7(2) (i) of LGOIMA, (to enable any TCDC to carry on, without prejudice or disadvantage, negotiations (including commercial and industrial negotiations)), these relate to our on-going discussions with the parties involved.  Basically, Bill, the report outlines the negotiations on grass and the cost risk to Council

Of course, when secrecy of this nature surrounds a controversial issue before Council, one can only speculate. In this case, I have no inside knowledge other that the fact that I have been reliably informed that Hoppers (or its associated companies) have refused all responsibility for reinstating the grass where it has failed spectacularly. It is speculated that this failure is due to the manner in which the base was prepared for the sports ground using contaminated material that had been recovered from the canals and saved for this purpose as part of Hoppers long term plan for its disposal. Removal from the site of this material would have been a substantial financial burden. 

Be that as it may, the situation is now clearly at stalemate, and the Council is anxious to avoid further embarrassment by hiding behind the cover of "negotiations". I am sure that this is all being done in good faith with the object of avoiding litigation, which Hoppers have apparently threatened.

It will be interesting to see if this imbroglio stretches out beyond the election, thus avoiding any further reflection on the competence of staff and councillors who have allowed this situation to develop on their watch.   

I will advise as soon as any reliable information comes to hand regarding any resolution of this matter. It is understood that there may be as much as a further million dollars at stake - a further imposition on Whitianga ratepayers should the matter not be able to be resolved, though as with the Pontoon below, it appears that further borrowing is the 'fall-back' position. Leach's latest claims that our Council is "under-borrowed" is an indication of the comfort felt in certain quarters, and in particular, the state of denial that applies to 'internal borrowing'.  

Eventually, a rational and independent analysis of just exactly waht is the status of 'internal borrowing' will be necessary, and our Council's true borrowing position established once and for all - the sooner the better. 




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